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Gadget Geekery. New Camera. - Mark Atwood
fallenpegasus
fallenpegasus
Gadget Geekery. New Camera.
A couple of weeks ago, when I was in San Francisco, I noticed that my banged up old Canon PowerShot A80, which I had carried around nearly everywhere, was starting to show flickering and streaking on it's LCD. I hoped that it was only an artifact of the display, and that it was still capturing good images.

It was a false hope. About one picture in three was ruined. Time for a new camera.

The one I had had my eye one was the Lumix TZ1, mainly because it had gotten a very positive review on CoolTools, (a site and blog I cannot recommend highly enough).

Turns out that the current incarnation is the TZ3. And many of the user reviews were about features I could really like. It's solid metal. Very good in low-light. Image stabilization. These are solutions to the problems I had had with the A80. Plus, it came in black, which I appreciate.

The only real downsides are that it's going to be a format change in batteries and in memory, from rechargable AAs and CF, to a proprietary pack and SD.

I found the best price, by a significant amount, at "86th Street Photo & Video". And then discovered how it was so "cheap", in that the actually call you to verify your credit card (makes sense, given the fraud rates for small high value electronics in internet sales), and at the same time, press really hard on the up-sell, especially their very overpriced "special super high speed" memory and "special super capacity" batteries, which a little research shows to be no faster than standard SanDisk memory and no larger than the one that comes with the camera.

It was waiting for me when I got home from Dallas on Saturday, wanting only for memory. I was thinking that I was going to have to make the trek to Fries or to CostCo to get SD memory, but then noticed this evening that the Walgreens around the corner has it, and for only a couple of bucks more than CostCo for the 2G size.

So now I have a new camera, for to dump more images into my own collection, and to publish onto Flickr.

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Current Location: Home, Capitol Hill, Seattle WA

12 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
loganb From: loganb Date: December 11th, 2007 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)
Compared to your cannon, how much better would you say is the low-light performance? I have an Cannon S60, IIRC; I haven't used it in over a year because it is completely useless in anything but direct sun and the flash has a tendency to wash everything out. :(
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: December 11th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here is an image that it took. The camera was in "automatic intellegent ISO mode, no flash", and it selected ISO 800, f/3.3, 1/8 sec. Notice how well the image stabilizer handled the 1/8 second exposure. This was handheld, not with a tripod.

http://flickr.com/photos/fallenpegasus/2103916876/
loganb From: loganb Date: December 11th, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. That's hot.
paraventur From: paraventur Date: December 11th, 2007 08:37 am (UTC) (Link)
what are you going to do with your old one?
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: December 11th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Throw it away or give it away.

Do you want it?
paraventur From: paraventur Date: December 11th, 2007 10:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
yes, please. I want to take one apart and a functioning, but broken one is perfect.
nojay From: nojay Date: December 11th, 2007 12:50 pm (UTC) (Link)

Freeware camera geekery

A bunch of Eastern European hackers have produced a freeware pseudo-firmware install for DigicII-series Canon cameras like the later PowerShots (A570 etc).

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/CHDK

It opens up the camera to be able to do things like scripting, absolute control of all the major functions and many other tricks (like motion sensing -- only take pictures when the scene changes by a preset amount). Most recently they've got the shutter speed down to 1/60,000 second with flash sync allowing average users with 100-buck cameras to achieve those "splash-drop" pictures previously the domain of high-speed kilobuck specialist cameras and xenon flashes.

http://chdk.wikia.com/wiki/Samples:_High-Speed_Shutter_%26_Flash-Sync

Best of all the firmware update fits on an SD card and can be deinstalled with a power-down/powerup cycle to bring the camera back to factory spec.
fallenpegasus From: fallenpegasus Date: December 11th, 2007 05:37 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Freeware camera geekery

Cool!
elfs From: elfs Date: December 11th, 2007 05:57 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Freeware camera geekery

Is that icon from Assatte no Houkou?
nojay From: nojay Date: December 11th, 2007 08:10 pm (UTC) (Link)

Assate no Houkou

Yep, when chibi-Shoko is invited to go and play with the other kiddies at the park (episode 5, I think). Lovely reaction.

_Assatte_ is probably my favourite fansub series this year, although it dragged a bit at the end (as many series seem to). The manga had a bit more of an edge to it, I understand but I've not seen a lot of that, in scanlation at least.
elfs From: elfs Date: December 11th, 2007 06:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I love my TZ1, as you well know. It's a beautiful camera; I even took the pano shots with it, and it works well.

One recommendation I can make: buy yourself a BIG SD card, like 2GB at least, and put the camera into infinite take mode. It won't work with the flash, but without flash, you can hold down the button and get six or seven shots of your subject. If you're trying to photograph someone in a semi-journal-istic setting, like a party or a crowd, you can create serendipity by having a bunch of photos from which to choose the best.

The movie-making is quite good on the TZ1, although the sound is sometimes out of sync. I've done some things with transcode and ffmpeg to make it better, and you can create YouTube and GoogleVideo worthy material pretty easily with the TZ1.

intrepid_reason From: intrepid_reason Date: December 13th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC) (Link)
Cool Tech Toys!!!

That reminds me...I need to take another photo of my tree.
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